MAP Insanity

The Garfield Boycott of the MAP test continues. In a very thinly veiled threat, the Seattle Public Schools superintendent has issued a warning that those who refuse to administer the MAP could face a 10 day suspension without pay. Teachers are real unclear about exactly what this means. Some media blame the teachers’ union, which is ridiculous, as they have been non-players in this and are only recently cheering the Garfield teachers on – the union certainly didn’t instigate the boycott. Most of the criticism I have read accuses the teachers of fearing an honest evaluation – which is also ridiculous, as Garfield is one of the highest achieving high schools in the district – and even the head of the company that produces the MAP has clearly, and recently repeated publicly, that the MAP is not to be used to evaluate teachers.

This insanity pales in comparison to what I heard from a Seattle teacher yesterday: kindergarten students are now exempt from taking the Jan/Feb MAP. It’s optional, and schools can decide individually if they want to give it to their kindergarten students. What?!!

Bear with me for some important background to explain the insanity of this coming out now. After the first year of MAP in SPS, it was decided that schools could opt out of the September test if they didn’t want to give it. Many teachers argued that if MAP was to be used to guide instruction (as everyone was told was its purpose), then what sense would it make for a teacher to give the MAP for the first time to his students, over halfway through the school year? Apparently SPS thought that was just fine. So, many schools gave the optional MAP in the fall, to try to get something useful out of it – and many repeatedly asked SPS to make the mid-year MAP the optional one. No dice. Fall, Winter, Spring.

Fall was optional. Mid-year was mandatory.

The exception to the optional MAP in the fall was kindergarten. They were the ONLY grade level required to take the MAP 3 times a year (and each of those 3 times required 4 different sessions, for a total of 12).

Back to the latest news. Teachers have just been told that the Jan/Feb MAP for Kindergarten is optional. Only Kindergarten. Everybody else has to take it, and if you are a teacher of non-Kindergarten students, and you do not give the MAP in Jan/Feb, you will lose over a half a month’s salary.

It seems to me as though there are people working at district HQ who are just making this up as they go along.

At the same time the district is changing its MAP requirements, the superintendent has drawn an ill-advised line in the sand.

Heaven help the students and teachers of the Seattle Public Schools.

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About Mark Ahlness

I am a retired teacher, with dreams of still making a difference.
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